The very notion of drinking more water and cutting down on coffee was enough to make me give up before I started most diets. I had the idea that I had to do it at once, knew I couldn't do that, and I'd not even try. I gave myself permission to take small steps, and that made all of the difference! I never even told myself that I had to get to any of my goals in better health or weight loss, I just had to take the next small step, hang out there a while, and see if I felt comfortable. When that step was ok, and had become commonplace for me, I'd get my courage, and take the next small step.
I didn't like hearing I needed to drink more water any more than anyone else does. I love coffee and sodas. Atkin's recommends limiting it to two cups of coffee daily, and I started at two POTS a day! The very idea of cutting down was depressing.
I didn't make any overnight changes. That may work for some, but being so used to that feeling of shaky, sad deprivation I had for so many years of trying and failing low fat diets, it felt like self abuse to give up anything else that made me feel good, and coffee did and still does!
Besides the caffeine overload, the plain strong, hot coffee I loved carried with it 0.7grams of carbohydrates. (Keep in mind that many carbohydrate numbers will say, "0" if it's anything under 1.0, so I trust reputable carb counters like the one in the link above. Multiply that 0.7 by the 24 cups a day I was drinking, and that is 16.8 carbs! I needed those carb for vegetables and that is more than 8 servings of green beans! at 16 net carbs total! I had to stay at or under 20 carbohydrates a day to lose weight, so this had to be cut back and quickly. Another thing caffeine does is it causes a release of insulin. This can stall weight loss even if we are under the recommended 20 carbohydrates. It effects different individuals differently, so I'd encourage each person to see how it effects their weight loss. I can successfully lose weight drinking about 2 cups of coffee a day, but I despaired of ever getting there!
Here's how I cut back:
At first I didn't even think about it. I can't stand giving up anything! It hurts my feelings, seriously! As I said, I'd felt deprived enough, and had enough of it! My answer? I didn't give up anything, ever! Instead, I ADDED things!
1. Every time I got a cup of coffee (see? I'm not giving it up here.) I ADDED one cup of water to my body before I poured my coffee. That move alone cut my coffee intake by half! Ok I was down to 12 cups a day at that point.
2. I discovered that herbal tea has less carbohydrate at 0.4grams in a cup, so I ADDED one cup of Chamomille (my favorite) at the end of every day. That cut my coffee intake down to 11 cups a day, and I was still not trying or willing to even cut down the amount of coffee I drank. You could not have dragged me away from a cup of coffee with seven rabid horses!
3. I was cooking more and eating out less, feeling a little lethargic and discovered that often a cup of buillion is recommended to help with this. I was a little short on salt! No problem! I ADDED a 2 cup MONSTER MUG of buillion in the afternoons. I was down to 9 cups of coffee a day! And anyone who'd have tried to take MY coffee away, might have gotten their fingers bitten! hehe.
4. Slowly, oh so slowly (this took a year probably.) I began ADDING more water to my scoop of ground coffee. I did NOT say that I made weaker coffee, and you can't make me drink weaker coffee! hehe. I was just ADDING water, until I was drinking those 9 cups at 1/2 strength. At that point, I was drinking what amounts to 4 1/2 cups of coffee a day plus 4 1/2 cups of hot water mixed with it!
5. I am one to sip coffee constantly. I have a black mug, so you can't see what color the fluid is in it. I tend to reheat my coffee in the microwave when it gets cold. My cup was empty, and getting my usual ADDED one cup of water, before I got my beloved coffee, I had to leave the room. When I came back I'd forgotten that this was water, put it in the microwave and heated it. I took it to my computer and was sipping. About half way through, I realized this was NOT coffee, but plain hot water! At first it was funny, but then I realized that I had felt satisfied, that relieved feeling of coffee, and this was water! I ADDED two cups of steaming, comforting, soothing hot water in my beautiful big black mug now filling it decadently to the rim two times a day! I was down to 2 1/2 cups of coffee a day!
6. My coffee became a daily treat, rather than an all day standard for me. I made a ceremony of it! Need I repeat, I love my coffee, and you can't take it away! hehe. I have a lap blanket that I must have with my coffee, sometimes it calles for ADDED music!
I have to be careful with coffee, as it is so easy for me to crank the amount I drink back up again, and I will probably never give it up. About a month ago, I was up to 12 cups of my half coffee/half ADDED water again, which is 6 cups of regular brewed coffee. I'm down to two again, using exactly the method and thinking that I did in the first place. I'm also completely diet soda free now. I'd given up all sugared sodas early on, but was drinking a lot of diet soda. I used the same method that I did for coffee. For me, mostly it is because the sweeteners in diet soda can trick the mind into thinking there is sugar there, causing an insulin release in the body. It's all connected! That insulin release blocks fat from being burned.
I had to identify what I loved about coffee. Ofcourse the taste and smell, and that can only be had with actual coffee, but I did like other tastes and smells to, so I ADDED them. One major thing I love about coffee is holding that cup in my hands close to my body. It was a comfort object of warmth. Any warm beverage in that cup does the same thing, and I'd never have thought it would work. I loved the calming sensation, and I ADDED things like my lap blanket and music to calm myself. Incidentally, I've found that I am actually calmer without so much caffeine. I knew it was a stimulant, but it made me feel calm, so I couldn't give up that rare and precious calm feeling. I had to find other ways to keep that in my life, and even expand on it. I like MORE of just about anything that feels good, and serenity does!
I didn't start a diet one day at 100%. I made small changes like this as I went along, and over 8 years later, I'm still a work in progress.
I hope this helps, and I'll have other tips as I go along.
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